It's Mother's Day. As I thought about my mom today a wonderful experience popped in my head. It's relevant right now for a few reasons. As a kid I didn't know what quarantine meant, until the day my mom announced that her friend, Ron, in the city who owned an exotic bird store, had been told that all his birds had to be quarantined due to a rare disease that didn't effect human but could spread rapidly in birds. And they had to leave SF. So my exocentric mamma offered our house as a place for ALL the birds to stay! Including Rocky, a giant Macaw Parrot who had been trained to perform but would not behave so he was "kicked out" of Marine World. Most of the birds stayed out back in what used to be my dad's shop space. It was loud and pretty stinky in there. I have no idea how my mom cared for all those birds. Rocky lived in the house with us in a giant steel cage and talked all day long. He loved to swear and he even stole a steak off the table before dinner one night.
Thinking of having all those birds on our property and the adventures of living with Rocky, reminded me what a rich life my mom had. She was up for adventure and loved animals. I completed the original A-Z memory book and there are definitely animals in there, but I keep circling back to all the stories I didn't tell and how so many of them revolve around animals. So I think my next project is emerging..."The Animals of Evergreen Avenue" or something along those lines.
We had a goose who flew in during a storm and then stayed. A goat in our front yard. A guinea pig who was "free range" during the day and would come home at night (like a cat!). I raised baby chicks in my room every spring and then added them to our flock. We had three ponds with fish in them that the raccoons would try and catch and my mom was on a never ending fight with them. And then there was China, the sweetest cat in the world. There are SO many stories, I need to write them down and then make images to capture the time and place that only lives in my head right now.
And the other reason this is all so meaningful is that last week, on May 1st, our family adopted six chicks. So I am following in my mom's footsteps as best I can, giving my kids a chance to love these little beings and have their own funny stories when they grow up. My mom would be proud.
Sometimes I wonder if I was born in the right time... I long for a bygone era and yet I dream of a future that holds the best of technology mixed with the “old ways” that are so much gentler on us and the earth.